What is the smallest thing you’ve ever seen?
Now, what’s the smallest thing you can imagine?
Imagine something even smaller.
How about even smaller?
How small is it? How would you measure it? With what units?
This video, narrated by Stephen Fry, has inspired this weeks look at size and scale. Check it out and then come back for more!
|You’ll have to take my word for it, but the diatom on the left is about 34 um,
while the four N. salina cells are each about 4 um. I can place rulers on the cells individually
within the program, but they don’t save in the image files. Odd!
We can break down even this basic building block into molecules and atoms. How big might they be? What can you find inside of an atom? How big are electrons, neutrons, and protons? Can you go even smaller?
Check out this fantastic website for help answering these questions with an iterative, visual module of the universe.
Surely there can’t be many things that are even smaller. Right?
- Nanotechnology could enhance environmental quality and sustainability.
Ultrathin and lightweight organic solar cells with high flexibility
- And an extra special application that could help with the trip to Mars: The NASA Biocapsule – made of carbon nanotubes – will be able diagnose and treat astronauts in space!
Kaltenbrunner, M., White, M.S., Głowacki, E.D., Sekitani, T., Someya, T., Sariciftci, N.S. & Bauer, S. (2012). Ultrathin and lightweight organic solar cells with high flexibility, Nature Communications, 3 770. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1772
2 thoughts on “Scale Matters: What is Small?”
I can't find the article right now, but I heard over the weekend that a group of reserachers made the smallest nano (I think nano was the prefix) computer ever inside of a diamond!
I'll have to look for that article tonight! It's crazy that our parents would've learned about computers the size of rooms or even buildings. Technology, you are so cool!